The City of Baytown lawsuit against Baytown Firefighter Patrick Mahoney has come to an end, as both sides signed an agreed judgment.
In a joint statement between the city and the Baytown Professional Firefighters Association Local 1173, the city will not seek to recover the costs which were paid to Mahoney for out-of-pocket medical expenses he incurred, and Mahoney has agreed to withdraw his workers’ compensation claim.
“This resolution helps the city and the association refocus on and further strengthen our commitments to public and firefighter safety; to building a great fire department, and to delivering excellent service,” the joint statement says.
The city first filed the lawsuit back in July 2018 to seek clarification as to whether or not thyroid cancer is covered by the Texas Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation.
The city described the lawsuit as a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers because it could have faced a $600,000 deductible, higher premiums and ongoing benefits to Mahoney and his spouse as well as future claims of other firefighters if thyroid cancer was determined to be covered by workers’ compensation.
The city would not disclose how much money was spent on the lawsuit or if it received clarification without filing for a public information request. The Baytown Sun filed the request giving the city, by law, 10 days to release the information.
In April, city officials said they anticipated the lawsuit to cost the city up to $40,000.
With the agreed judgment also came a caveat that no one from the City of Baytown or Mahoney could comment to any media source regarding the case of the settlement unless such a comment is contained in a joint press release signed in advance by both parties.
For over a year, the city sought clarification after Mahoney filed a claim for thyroid cancer when he was diagnosed in December 2016.
As a result of the diagnosis, Mahoney had half of his thyroid removed, with continued treatment. He then filed for workers’ compensation benefits for his treatment, which was initially denied. So he filed an appeal and won.
The city then opted to appeal the contested case hearing ruling but then lost the appeal. The city then filed a lawsuit to get clarification.
In August, the city was able to designate Mahoney’s physician as an expert witness in hopes that his testimony would help determine if thyroid cancer should be covered.
In his deposition, Dr. James Suliburk said he did not think Mahoney’s firefighting duties caused his thyroid cancer. At the time, Mahoney and his legal team insisted that he was exposed to carcinogens as part of the hazards of his work as a firefighter.
In September, Mahoney and his counsel were granted time to obtain their own expert witness to rebut Suliburk’s testimony; however, an agreed judgment was reached on Oct. 2.